31st December 2004
New Zealand pioneered the use of restorative justice, and it has been in practice there for the past twenty years. The Families Act, 1989 introduced its use in youth justice. This Act made restorative justice practices mandatory for all but the most serious offences, such as murder and manslaughter, for juvenile offenders.
This paper from the New Zealand Ministry for Justice sets out the principles of best practice of restorative justice in New Zealand. A conference with the youth’s family and the victim (if they choose to be involved) occurs, where a form of reparation is agreed on. This is then sent to a judge of the Youth Court who effectively makes that agreement the sanction of the court. Typical conference plans include an apology reparations and /or community service.
To read the report click here.